The most beautiful blog on the Web

…is back!   Mark Walter’s original blog, Eternal Awareness, is back after a very long hiatus, at a new URL: http://eternalawareness.com.

When I say that his is the most beautiful blog on the Web, I don’t say it lightly.  I mean his IS, and at all levels.  It’s illustrated like no other, with photographic and graphic art often blending the real and the surreal, mirroring the interpenetration of the spiritual and physical worlds often sensed by those on the Path.

But its beauty isn’t pixel-deep. Mark’s blog is beautiful in its communication as well.  Mark writes both sensitively and sensibly about the most inexpressible things, and transcends the language and conceptual problems that have been snaring people embarking into these realms for thousands or years. Whether you’re theistic, non-theistic, panentheistic, or don’t know or care about theological positions, Eternal  Awareness can communicate to you.  I’m not talking about a watered-down, “something for everyone” offering.  I mean everything/no-thing from the One, for the One in all.

The third way in which his blog’s beauty shines, is by the fact that it’s Mark’s blog.  And it’s his soul that will be meeting yours through his writing and insights.  And that, my friends, is a very, very beautiful thing.

The Boy from Lebanon

The Boy from LebanonThe Boy from Lebanon is a thought-provoking and intense depiction of a true story, a plot by Hezbollah to assassinate then-president François Mitterand by using a child. It’s one of the most striking foreign films I’ve seen in the last few years, and it far surpasses “Syriana” in showing how rather ordinary young people become terrorists. But The Boy from Lebanon is a more than a mere consciousness-raiser about the plight of children in war-torn areas—it’s a shocking drama, and an wonderful portrayal of the power of friendship.

Djilali (Teufik Jallab) is a scant eleven years old when he’s sold—literally—into terrorism. Djilali is emotionally shattered, detached, and empty. Even his hatred of “the Jews and the infidels” is something he holds out of duty, and his lack of emotion and whole-hearted dedication to his mission makes him ideal for Hezollah’s purpose.

To get close to the French president, though, he must not only go to France, but meet and prepare to take the place of Karim (Younesse Boudache), a Lebanese-French kid who will meet the president at a Christmas party. Karim, who knows nothing of the plot, is practically Djilali’s direct opposite, an ebullient Huckleberry Finn of Paris’ Arab slums, who hates no one.

To play his role, Djilali must live with Karim for a few days, and the interaction between them is the heart of the film. Djilali regards Karim as despicably frivolous, while Karim sees Djilali as hopelessly out-of-it. The few days they spend together will shatter both of their worlds completely.

Sometimes it gets a bit confusing; shifts between Karim’s French slum and Djilali’s flashbacks are difficult to catch at first, and in my case I had to watch it a second time to understand everything. In addition, the adult actors are sometimes less-than-convincing, but The Boy from Lebanon isn’t about them. The main characters are memorable and masterfully portrayed by these child actors. The director, Gilles de Maistre, is an award-winning French journalist, who presents the characters compassionately, along with a side of Paris that most movies assiduously avoid.

My teacher commented on the Virginia Tech massacre with the observation that Seung-Hui Cho had had no friends, and wondered would he have done what he did if he had. A similar question is brilliantly posed by “The Boy from Lebanon.”

Watch it. You’ll be glad you did.

This is big

So big, in fact, that I put off posting this for days. I can’t quite process it. Perhaps you my friends, can help me to do so. Since childhood, I’ve been a science-fiction fan, and as someone who grew up with the privilege of being able to look into fairly clear desert night skies, I’ve never been able to believe we’re the only sentient life form in the universe.

But I’ve always shied away from UFO-ology. I’ve been better able to accept aliens “out there” than “right here,” especially after thousands of reports of abductions supplanted the image of ET with something much more sinister. And there always was the possibility that psychological displacement, optical illusions, astronomical phenomena, or secret R&D was behind it all. In a nutshell, I was comfortable filing the UFO phenomenon under “interesting,” and letting it go at that.

I can’t stop at that point anymore. The cover is being blown from a number of sources simultaneously: astronauts Edgar Mitchell and Buzz Aldrin are talking about their knowledge of UFOs, and in Mitchell’s case, his knowledge of the cover-ups as well. The governments of Brazil, France, and the UK have all declassified their documents on UFOs within the last four months. Possibly in response, the Vatican published an article entitled “The Extraterrestrial Is My Brother” (!) in L’Osservatore Romano in May.

So, although I’ve never had a UFO experience myself, here’s the evidence that’s made me a believer in the last few days:

Dr. Edgar Mitchell on Kerrang! Radio:

CNN reporting on the above interview:

Buzz Aldrin discussing a UFO encounter on Apollo 11:

Dr. Edgar Mitchell discussing the Roswell incident:

UK National Archives: newly declassified files available for download:
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ufos/

Washington Post article on the French declassification:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/22/AR2007032202132.html

Brazilian government comes clean:
http://www.rense.com/general65/braz.htm

Vatican Diplomacy: English summary of the L’Osservatore Romano article “The Extraterrestrial Is My Brother:”
http://vaticandiplomacy.wordpress.com/2008/05/13/vatican-astronomer-says-believing-in-aliens-does-not-contradict-faith-in-god/

Complete original text of the May 13 article in Italian:
http://vaticandiplomacy.wordpress.com/2008/05/13/vaticano-per-padre-funes-lipotesi-sullesistenza-di-extraterrestri-non-contrasta-con-la-fede/

Some governments still value the secrecy of their UFO knowledge, however.
Wired magazine interview with Gary McKinnon:
http://www.wired.com/techbiz/it/news/2006/06/71182

So. A lot is changing, and very fast. I’m more than a bit curious as to why so much, and so suddenly? Are we on the verge of an announcement from the UN? What do you think is going on?